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.org/history. >> yesterday, a senate homeland security subcommittee on contract oversight looked at afghanistan reconstruction contracts. witnesses include contractors to receive money from the u.s. agency for international development and the army corps of engineers as well as defense department and usaid officials. missouri democratic senator clear ms. castle -- clare mccaskill chaired the two-hour hearing. if the witnesses have become -- i have a formal statement prepared but i have decided not to give a formal opening statement. and just express the reason for this hearing. this is not the first hearing we have had in the subcommittee on contract thing in our contingency operation. and i began working on this problem almost the day i wrought -- arrived in the senate. when i travel to iraq to do nothing but look at contracting oversight because i couldn't figure out how in the world things had gotten so out of control in terms of contacting in iraq. i went over to iraq and i realized why they had gotten out of control. contract and representatives were just a low man on the total bowl being
and reconstruction in afghanistan. the great majority of which has been channeled through private contractors. we know from experience in bosnia in the 1990's and more recently in iraq that a reduction in troop levels as not mean a drop in contractor activity. in some cases, it is a matter of increase. there has been increase reliance on contractors to fulfill the logistical roles once performed by the military in those instances. eventually, the contractor presence will also decrease as we move support of large-scale off-budget scanned it -- spending to more direct to the afghan government directly. this is why our reconstruction strategy must focus on insuring that afghans can sustain what we have helped build. how many additional schools and health, as we can construct, but also that there are teachers and health care officials to sustain those institutions. whether afghans have the resources and expertise to manage the long-term operation and maintenance of power plants. on a related note, as we encourage more contracting with local afghan firms under the afghan first policy, we must consider
the civil war in afghanistan. i do not understand why members of congress want to spend $10 billion a month in afghanistan when our people back home are struggling. i can assure you the american people do not understand it, either. in june, a poll was conducted by the pew research center where 56% of the american people polled said bring our troops home now. not later. mr. speaker, i brought back the picture of edy and stephanie. their father and lieutenant colonel palmer, died, and that continues to haunt me. and the way they died continues to haunt me. that's the reason i wanted to bring this picture down here again. they were given the task to train afghans to be policemen. the two were shot and murdered by one of the trainees. what really haunts me is the email sergeant baldwin sent to his wife the day before he was shot and killed. i quote the email, i don't trust them. i don't trust them. for anything. not for anything at all. why in the world do we continue to send our young men and women overseas to get theirselves blown up, shot, and murdered by people they are trying to train? the
in afghanistan and next director of the c.i.a. certains -- earns a salary of approximately $180,000. the secretary of defense earns about $200,000. how then can we justify salaries of up to $700,000 for defense contractor executives? i understand there may be contractors who supply services to our nation that our government cannot perform on its own. however, i am also absolutely certain there is no one single private contractor whos value to our national security is twice that of the commander in chief of the united states military. at a time when the chairman of the joint chiefs is telling us that the nation's deaf is the number one threat facing america, we cannot continue -- debt is the number one threat facing america, we cannot keep paying private contractor salaries that are more than triple the pay of our military leadership. my amendment simply states that funds in this bill will not be used to pay a federal government salary for any individual defense contractor that exceeds the valerie of the secretary of defense. that sal -- salary of the secretary of defense. that s
it comes to discussing the merits of continuing our efforts in afghanistan, the republicans clamor to defend it despite our fiscal mess. i want to remind my republican friends the situation we are in now is not new. throughout history from rome to the ottoman empire to the soviet union the over extension of military and protracted struggles in foreign countries has crippled empires. some historians have credited ronald reagan for the soviet union's collapse but what really bankrupted the soviet union was its wars, just like us, they paid a crushing price both financially and morally in afghanistan. overextending geopolitically comes at a cost over time in any nation that thinks otherwise is setting itself up to repeat the mistakes of the past. as of today, the united states has spent more than 2 1/2 times the percentage of g.d.p. on afghanistan that the -- than the soviet union spent on its g.d.p. during its nine-year war in afghanistan. public polls are clear, americans know the cost of the war in afghanistan is unsustainable and want us to withdraw as soon as possible. when it co
away from capitol hill, the economy and debt crisis are weighing heavily on u.s. troops in afghanistan. the top question on their minds saturday, even as bombings rocked the city around them, was the top u.s. military officer couldn't answer. will we get paid? these are soldiers in afghanistan with the bombs bursting around them. here's what the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff said, and i quote, "i honestly don't know the answer to that question." admiral mike mcmullin responded, statement telling them to work each day to defend this country. wearing the uniform, listening to bombs go off around them. that is why today what is referred to in the press as real people. i guess we're not. we have students like laura and sidney. we have veterans like bill and roger and carlos and ariana who is a senior. guerm who is a senior. felicia is a senior. alyssa is a senior. they are here representing the millions of people around this country who are as frayed of the soldiers on the frontline in afghanistan. we don't have more delaying tactics? we need to get to the business of hand. we have
, reduced spending on the wars in afghanistan and iraq and through targeted cuts to mandatory spending. it doesn't raise taxes and it doesn't touch medicare, medicaid or social security. again, this is not a perfect plan. i have been on the floor many times in favor of a balanced package that includes cuts to spending, domestic, defense and mandatory, but also includes increased revenues. the reid princess plan doesn't e those goals -- the reid plan doesn't achieve those goals but i hope we will get there eventually. this is not a proposal i would have written, but i'm one of more than 100 members of the senate and more than 535 members of congress, and i don't get everything i want. none of us here in congress get everything we want. that's the nature of compromise. that's the nature of democracy, and that's why the framers of the constitution created checks and balances in government. that's why they created two chambers in congress and three branches of government, and when you're a leader in government, you just don't have the luxury of drawing a line in the sand and walking away.
down the wars in iraq and afghanistan don't count. specifically, they say that these savings are -- quote -- "a widely ridiculed accounting gimmick that breeds cynicism." unquote. yet all but three of the 43 senators who signed this letter voted for the ryan budget on may 25 this year. that budget counted the same drawdowns as almost identical in savings. so those savings were legitimate enough to secure their support for the ryan budget but not legitimate enough to secure their support for leader reid's debt ceiling compromise. and here we are on the precipice, and suddenly they've done a 180-degree turn. either these savings count or they don't. you can't have it both ways. so we are proposing exactly what republicans have been saying that they want. yet instead of accepting this deal, they're using what precious time we have left to push forward with their agenda, and it's not even their agenda. it's the tea party agenda. their radical agenda is a wolf in sheep's clothing. last night we voted down speaker boehner's plan which requires the passage of a balanced budget const
of the american people. >> mr. speaker, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff is in afghanistan and was asked by a number of soldiers whether they were going to get their checks next week. how can you allow them to wonder whether they are going to get paid? >> we will be able to come to an agreement. >> if we could have had this with a bipartisan agreement? >> it could have been finished early this past week. there was a bipartisan agreement between myself and the leaders to move the underlying bill through the house yesterday. all the president had to do was say yes and it would have moved quickly through both the house and the senate. we wasted a week that we did not need to waste. now we have been driven into this and the president has to decide how we will get out of it. >> what gives you confidence? >> in spite of our differences, we are dealing with a reasonable and as possible people that want this crisis to end as quickly as possible. >> let me add, the country is not going to default for the first time in history. that is not going to happen. we have a level of seriousness with the
is in afghanistan, visiting the troops. the question they are asking, will they be paid if this default happens? let me put this plainly. if senator reid's plan passes as they pay down their domestic spending spree with the blood and sweat of our troops, the military will break. we have allowed ourselves to be distracted from the massive entitlement programs that are actually bankrupting the country. that stops here. the budget passed last night shrinks the government and, most importantly, holt's three years of neglect to our armed forces. thank you. now i would like to ask the gentleman from arizona -- i mean virginia, i do not know how that happened, the chairman of our readiness subcommittee. >> i think that this is an important issue. over the last several weeks we have heard a lot about the word compromise. i think that the american people realize that overlaid on that are two other words. we need to make sure that we are having common sense on whatever compromise that we have. we do not understand why it is the democratic administration constantly believes we need to compromise our national s
have had their fill of catastrophe and near catastrophe. recently in afghanistan, admiral mullen, chairman of our joint chiefs, was asked by troops if they'll be paid next month. his answer was, "i honestly can't answer that question." admiral mullen had to tell the troops, "i'd like to give you a better answer than that right now. i just honestly don't know." mr. president, it is inconceivable to me that we will leave our troops in limbo by driving our country over the cliff of default. our nation's economic life is in peril. i don't remember ever in the 32 years that i've been here is our nation more in need of deliberation, statesmanship and compromise. "the new york times" columnist david brooks, who is a conservative columnist, recently wrote that too many republicans seem to have joined a movement -- his word -- in which -- quote -- "the members do not accept the logic of compromise, no matter what the terms." close quote. i hope that some of our republican colleagues will prove mr. brooks wrong on this matter because of its huge significance. the time for ignoring hard tru
billion in iraq and afghanistan to train the security forces, less than $10 billion to retrain our work force for the jobs of the future. well, mr. president, i see others have come on the floor. i'll wrap this up. deficit reduction is important. i'm not saying it isn't. but it is not the single-most important thing right now. the single-most important thing is to put people back to work. that will, as senator wyden said earlier, start to create the demand. it will spur more private investment as the federal government begins to invest in the future of this country. that's where we ought to be focusing on. once we get the wheels going again, once we get people back to work and the economy start to to -- starts to grow, that's when we start to reduce the deficit. to just focus on deficit reduction right now to the exclusion of putting people back to work reminds me of when doctors used to put leaches on people who were ill. it only made them more ill because it drained more blood out of their system. and most times proved fatal, as it did to our first president, george washington. our ur
with afghanistan there. over the years, the number has gone up steadily. the first few years of the strike 2004 to 2007, just a handful, and we see it going up. 2010, under the obama administration, really rising. but a policy never fully publicly articulated. 118 strikes last year. 45 so far this year. pakistanis said a couple of months ago that they wanted to stop here they ordered the cia out of an air base in pakistan were some of the raids have been launched. by my reckoning, there have been a dozen sense, so have these been done like the big law the raid itself against the will of the pakistan government? we do not know for sure, but we do know that our defensive about it, and last month, for example, john brennan tried to allay concerns and talked about new procedure and said that in the past year there have not been a single collateral death because of the exceptional efficiency and provision -- decision of the capabilities they been able to develop. they say no one has been killed. >> so have they delivered on that envisioned? >> this is where the new research comes in here it has been
administration. mr. courtney: starting with iraq and afghanistan wars, two wars which, again, lots of debate about whether it was in our national interest, but in any case what is not debatable is that we never paid for a penny of either one of those conflicts. the bush tax cuts, $1.8 trillion . nondefense discretionary spending, $608 billion. tarp, the wall street bailout, which a lot of people forget occurred under the last administration, a medicare drug benefit which was passed in 2005 which was never paid for, not a nickel of that benefit was ever paid for. we were either offsetting revenue or other -- with either offsetting revenue or other spending reductions. and the 2008 stimulus bill which the bush administration had presented, a lot of people don't remember the check they got sent during that time for, again, none of those expenditures were paid for and many of those expenditures such as the bush tax cuts and the iraq and afghanistan war are still recurring expenses which are still accumulating bills and debts which this country is obligated for. when the obama administration took
a war of necessity in afghanistan, keeping us there far longer than necessary, at an additional cost of $430 billion, unpaid for. a total cost for both wars, unpaid for, of $1.2 trillion. the republican party that will not now agree to one penny in revenue and demands only more spending cuts has fought to make tax breaks for the wealthy permanent that would cost this nation another $5 trillion. their favorite big business in wall street and a tax code that has resulted in major multibillion-dollar corporations paying no taxes -- yes, no taxes at all. in fact, a detailed government accountability office study of corporate income taxes from 1998-2005 showed that 55% of large u.s. corporations reported no, no tax liability for at least one of those eight years. yet, those same republicans will look us in the eye in defense of their defenseless position and tell us that most individuals do not pay taxes either. what they will not say is that those individuals who do not pay taxes do not pay taxes for a reason. they do not earn enough to pay income tax, and many of them are among the poor
they're dodging bullets in places like afghanistan. we'd have confidence. but instead he says he can't guarantee. mr. speaker, we know he can. we know he can guarantee. we should push that on him out of this house to let him know where we stand, so the american people understand there is a moral standard here. one is, tell the truth. the second moral standard is, pay our military, the other moral standard is guarantee the full faith and credit of the united states government. i laid out the rest of these priorities, mr. speaker and cut, cap, and balance is an important position to stand on. the leverage that's here now must be used or we shirk our responsibility. had the leverage been stronger back in 1995, that extra vote in the senate that i spoke about some minutes ago would have been there, i believe and i believe the balanced budget amendment would have been sent to the states and i believe the states would have ratified it and if that had been part of the constitution the kay i came -- the day i came here in january of 2003 i wouldn't have had to walk around on the floor and fi
not be able to do things militarily to support our troops in afghanistan and iraq. i view this, i think it bears close watching, but there is a perception that somehow we're giving our china, india, brazil and other countries an advantage. i view this program as a two-way street. it does provide a degree of access to american companies and so i would be also reluctant -- i reluctantly oppose your amendment but i can assure you that both of us feel very strongly that it bears watching. it has borne some fruit. mr. frelinghuysen: it's not money wasted, it's not money given away to competitors. thank you for yielding. mr. visclosky: but again, i think it draws attention that we should be closely monitoring these funds. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from fey rise? >> i move to strike the last word. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. broun: i'd like to yield to dr. harris from maryland. mr. harris: let me briefly address this so we can move on. we only cut $6 million out of the $8 million. there's budget language further on t
of questions. >> mr. speaker, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff is in afghanistan and he was asked whether soldiers will get their checks next week. how can you allow the soldiers to even wonder whether they will get paid? >> senator mcconnell and higher months -- both confident that we can come to an agreement with the white house and in this impasse. -- end this impasse. >> we could have had this bill finished early this past week. there was a bipartisan agreement between myself and the senate leaders to move the underlying bill that will be in moving to the house yesterday. the president, all he had to do was say yes and that milk -- that bill would have move quickly through both the house and senate. so we have wasted a week we did not need to waste. now we have been driven into this call the second it is time for the president to decide how we are going to get out of it. >> what gives you confidence? >> in spite of our differences, i think we are dealing with a reasonable, responsible people who want this crisis to end as quickly as possible and i am confident that we will. >>
and afghanistan, saving $1 trillion in the process. our troops in the middle east deserve our admiration and praise for so successfully carrying out their missions. we must, however, continue to press for a strategy that will bring our troops home as soon as we safely can. the reid deficit plan would find an additional $40 billion in savings by cutting fraud and abuse in tax compliance and a number of non-defense federal programs and $60 billion in other savings, including cutting unnecessary spending on agricultural subsidies and auctioning off electromagnetic spectrum that the government currently holds. finally, by cutting the government by over $2 trillion, we'll have to borrow less money than anticipated and that will save an additional $400 million -- sorry, $400 billion in projected interest costs. in total, the senate democratic plan on which we will vote would cut the deficits by $2.7 trillion over the next ten years. while senator reid's proposal would not address the tax gimmicks and loopholes throughout our tax code that help favor the well-connected, this omission does not m
of ours in afghanistan and in other trouble spots across the globe. that's personally important to me because 100 years ago this year my grandfather immigrated from crow shay to this country, john begich. then it was spelled p-e-c-g-i-c. he left his farmer and eventually settled in northern minnesota in the iron range. he and his young bride anna had four children, their youngest nikolas, made his way to america's new frontier, alaska, even before we were a staivment he was my father. nick was an educator and eventually was elected alaska's lone member of the united states house of representatives in 1970. i'm honored to follow in his footsteps as a member of the senate, where i'm the only member of croatian dissent. my recent visit was my first to croatia. i was honored to represent the body at the summit along with officials from the state department and u.s. embassy. i was impressed by the great progress under way there as well as the excellent job being performed by our embassy personnel. there are enormous opportunities for partnership between the united states and croatia and i
Search Results 0 to 20 of about 21 (some duplicates have been removed)